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Carles Puigdemont is willing to vote with the PP to push through a resolution on Israel, to overturn the Spanish budget or even to back a motion of no confidence if Pedro Sánchez and the Socialist Party do not comply with the agreement with Junts. Just a few days after the investiture, Puigdemont makes it clear that his support is much more than conditional and that his seven deputies are willing and available for other types of alliances.
This was said last night by the pro-independence leader to none other than Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People's Party, the great battering ram of the Spanish PP in Brussels and the person who over the last few years has most attacked Puigdemont himself and the independence movement for violating the Spanish Constitution. And that this Monday he was in Barcelona to support Alberto Núñez Feijóo, after having led his group's position in the controversial debate on the rule of law last week.
Weber, who in addition to being president of the EPP is the leader of the conservatives in the European Parliament, and he crossed paths on Tuesday night at the annual gala organized by Politico, the media outlet with the largest staff in Brussels. And what his journalists heard leaves little doubt.
Puigdemont and the German met and spoke in a group that also included Comín. And the anecdote is striking, because after six years in the Belgian capital, and almost four years as MEPs, it is the first time that the three of them spoke directly and in person. They have repeatedly criticised, reproached and insulted each other, from the microphone of Parliament or the media, but not face-to-face.
According to Politico in its newsletter, which reaches tens of thousands of people every morning in the European bubble and is the most read, Puigdemont downplayed the importance of Weber and the European PP's criticism of the agreement that has allowed the formation of a government and argued that a "consultative referendum" is perfectly legal if there is a political agreement between all the forces.
Always according to this account, which has been confirmed by Weber's entourage, the German criticized that with the Junts-PSOE pact and the investiture agreement what would be achieved is to feed Vox, just as the far-right forces are gaining or have gained weight in other European countries. "In fact, they're both feeding off each other," Politico quotes the fallout.
Puigdemont told a shocked Weber that he could conceive of a deal with the Popular Party to topple Pedro Sanchez's government midway through his term with a vote of no confidence. When Playbook asked Puigdemont directly if they had heard that part of the conversation correctly, Puigdemont confirmed: If "there is not enough progress" with Sánchez's Socialist Party in negotiations for the recognition of Catalonia as a nation, "we could vote with the PP to tear down the budget... or for a resolution on Israel, where our position is actually more aligned," he said.
The problem, obviously, is that for a motion of no confidence such as the one that boosted Sánchez at the time, it needs a candidate to occupy that place. The most recent example of an attempt was that of Vox with Ramón Tamames, which failed. Puigdemont and Junts apparently do not rule out that possibility, however strange and impossible it may be for a Spanish audience. "But for that, the PP must take a step towards us... they can't continue to treat me like a terrorist," Puigdemont told Politico, adding that his only crime "was placing ballot boxes."
When asked specifically about the controversy over lawfare in his agreement with Sánchez, the issue that has generated the most controversy in the EU, given that there are other recent cases of amnesties, Puigdemont reportedly said, according to the newsletter, that it was a warning to those judges and politicians who, according to him, had overstepped their bounds. "The term lawfare is like the horse's head in The Godfather: it's a warning that we're serious."
- Carles Puigdemont
- Together for Catalonia